Apr 29, 2010

To you I belong...


Within a span of five months, I have had experienced a sudden, tumultuous surge of emotions. I shifted my base from Delhi to Pune and finally I am heading towards Dehradun. It becomes painfully difficult to decide exactly where the compass of belongingness points to…

 Delhi, my birthplace, is a city that exudes inexplicable charisma and nonchalance and exhibits a congruous blend of all cultures. The scrumptious street food of Delhi had always aroused my olfactory senses. The mouth watering aromas and the lip-smacking tastes, resultant of secret recipes passed down the generations, lead to several jolts of euphoria. From the frenzied menagerie of the noisy traffic-infested roads to the reverberating silence through the various tombs, Qilas and minarets situated along the ruins of ancient Delhi, from the narrow bylanes of the clumsy yet humble clusters of dilapidated houses of Chandni Chowk to the affluent, posh colonies of the NFC, Anand Niketan and Vasant Vihar, my fondest memories diverge every sphere…

 Wherever I go, I carry my treasure box of childhood reminiscences of Delhi along. For instance, we, as school-going, tiny tots, on those rainy, muddy days, snuggled in our psychedelic, vividly colored raincoats, with patterns of pansies, ducks or hippos, proudly splashed mud puddles with our feebly developed shoe-clad feet, totally uninhibited by the numerous invasive, impending difficulties life holds in store for us. Memories of days when we barged out of our homes, in scorching summer afternoons, unaffected by the disapproving yet conniving looks of our parents, running barefoot and noisily along the narrow by lanes of the clumsy cluster of houses, joining fellow playmates in games  decipherable only to us, like ‘ghar-ghar’, stapoo, chain-chain etc still behold me sometimes.

 Probably, this was the first time I was on my own, several miles away from Delhi, in Pune and it had been both a wonderful yet a painful experience.

 However, Pune, especially DIAT memories refuse to wane… May that be the aroma wafting from juicy American corns we would buy from the small, roadside vendors along the vast expanse of Khadakwasla lake or the meandering, steep roads leading to Panshet Dam, the never-ending irksome queue at the CSD canteens or the contemplative, peaceful walks along the POINTS road, may that be the pleasant music reverberating from our hostels till late night or the swaying to the aggressive, fiery numbers on DJ nights, the cozy afternoon naps during the lecture sessions in the auditorium or the Programming Director always addressing us as “ Yes, Boys!!” failing to remember that there are 38 lady officers as well!!!

 Of course, these four months in Pune were a little nerve-wrecking and tumultuous as well. They literally shook me so much from deep within that I was not left with enough resilience to spring back to my natural self. What have I done to myself? Whom was I trying to please exactly? Everything that I tried to do; from changing my attire to my countenance and even my ideologies, was aimed to blend with the crowd. I lost my ability to contemplate and formed a new perception about myself; a self-image seen through the eyes of people who hardly held any relevance in my life. Somewhere amidst all this, I forgot that we all are special cases, we are the gifted children of the Almighty above, maybe not prodigy in some sense but we all have some incandescent talent in us, though hidden within rubbles of self-hatred, emotional infliction, incapacitation, lack of self confidence and self-deprecation. Now, I am indignant at myself; how could I stop loving myself so abruptly? How could I simply make myself feel unworthy in my own eyes? How can I overlook my virtues and make myself feel so despondent? How could I let any condescending, patronizing chap trample upon my feelings incessantly?

 Now, I am finally in Dehradun, the picturesque Doon Valley, amidst the captivating wilderness and the armoring mountains, trying to start afresh and abate the solitude…I have never been alone all my life but here I am, reclining on my bed, staring into space, with nobody to talk to, introspecting how my life is going to be from now on.  I feel like a baby bird leaving my nest, my cocooned abode, trying to acquire flight with my almost developed wings, still unsure and slightly petrified of the stumbling blocks life has in store of me. But, I am mustering more and more courage with each passing day and saying it aloud,” Bring it on, I am ready!!!”